CM Punk dropped one final pipe bomb with his recent tell-all on Colt Cabana’s podcast. While his views on Triple H, Ryback and Vince McMahon made headlines in the sports world, something else he said largely went unnoticed.
CM Punk saved Daniel Bryan.
“When I split in January they changed everything and part of me thinks they changed a lot of stuff to spite me and that’s fine because certain people who deserved certain things at that certain time got those things and that’s something I never got and it was nice to see that,” CM Punk said on Cabana’s podcast.
If you recall earlier this year, the plan for the WrestleMania main event was Randy Orton vs. Batista. While those two guys are great performers, Batista’s return was rushed and he wasn’t ready for a WWE WrestleMania main event, particularly in the context of the WWE at the time.
Daniel Bryan was hot — the hottest thing in the company since Stone Cold Steve Austin — and the fans clearly wanted him in the main event of WrestleMania.
The WWE, however, wasn’t going to change plans. They liked Bryan, but instead wanted to push the angle that he was too small and not worthy of being WWE champion. Bryan was probably headed toward a mid-card match at WrestleMania that year until CM Punk decided to up and walk away.
CM Punk, one of the greatest WWE champions of all time, was unhappy with his push. He was forced to lose his WWE championship a year prior to quarter-timer The Rock; he lost to quarter-timer Undertaker at Wrestlemania, then later in the year to part-timer Brock Lesnar.
For some reason the WWE didn’t really have a plan for the Punk or Bryan heading into the WWE’s biggest card of the year. Punk was supposed to wrestle Triple H at Mania, but Punk decided that he did not want to wrestle Triple H, another part-time wrestler.
Sparked by the booking and a general overall unhappiness with the product and the company, CM Punk walked away. How did the WWE respond? Well, they needed a big match for Triple H, the son-in-law of WWE chairman Vince McMahon. So, in response to the fans, the fact that Triple H needed an opponent, and the loss of Punk, the WWE rewrote the script and placed Bryan in the ring against Triple H, and if he prevailed, would force the Orton vs. Batista match into a triple threat for the world title.
Bryan beat Triple H, then defeated Orton and Batista and the “Yes!” era begain. None of that would have been possible had CM Punk not left.
With Punk griping that the WWE treated him unfairly and didn’t cash in on his popularity with fans, the WWE possibly decided to get behind Bryan. His rise from Indy worker to WWE star was similar to Punk’s, to show Punk that they could push the little guy.
Whatever the reason, Bryan’s main event slot can be traced back to Punk’s departure, leaving open a big spot on the WrestleMania card. Punk’s decision to end his WWE career gave life to Bryan’s WWE run.
It’s unfortunate that Punk is burnt out on the WWE and it’s unfortunate that the WWE never got behind him 100 percent to let him be the big star of the company.
Punk is a game-changer and even in his absence, he still makes the product better.